This weekend was the 17th annual Nelson Road Kings car show. It is a two day event on the second weekend in September every year. It starts with a parade on the Friday night, and the main event of the show on Saturday afternoon. The cars that line downtown are pretty spectacular. There are bands playing, lots of prizes, and of course, the air is filled with the smell of food being sold. The patios of local restaurants are packed as well, and the weekend is closed off with a big dance on Saturday night.
The car show is a widely attended event that draws out tons of people from all different ages, and walks of life. It has become one of Nelson's highly anticipated premiere events every year. For any information on future events, becoming a member, or photo galleries from years of past, you can find it all on their web-page.
Nelson Road Kings
P.O. Box 1130, Nelson, BC V1L 6H3
Phone: (250) 551-5848
Nelson Visitor Centre: +1 250-352-3433
'73 VW Beach Bus
'61 Chevy Impala
'68 Chevelle Malibu
'69 Pontiac Trans AM
'67 Pontiac GTO
'65 Chevrolet Corvette
'67 Chevy Impala
'67 Camaro SS RS 496
'42 Ford Cabover
'73 Ford Mach 1 Mustang (For Tiffany)
'34 Ford 3 Window Coupe
'36 Ford Woody Wagon
'66 Shelby Cobra
The Brian Kalbfleisch Trio
A couple video clips I took of the boys playing some Neil Young songs.
"For the Turnstiles" www.youtube.com/watch?v=DucCvf5YJg0
"Losing End" www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qYrLtjgCTs
'64 VW Bug
'66 Ford Mustang
'56 Ford T-Bird
'30 U Plymouth
50's Cadillac 2Dr HT
'23 T Bucket
'62 Chevy Nova SS Convertable
'57 Chevy 150 2Dr Sd
'71 Chev Pick Up
'55 Chev 150 Sedan
I am writing this holed up in a dive hotel in southern Wyoming in the midst of a three week road trip with my doggie. It is basically an agenda of simply being on the road to wherever, whenever. The only thing on the agenda was to go to Colorado to see an old friend I haven't seen since July 9, 1995. The date is easy to remember as it is the day of the final Grateful Dead show in Chicago.
Since I was going to be in the area, I got tickets to the final two shows of the Dead & Company tour that was finishing in Boulder, Colorado. In quite often typical road trip fashion though, I have had some crazy break down stories on the mountain passes east of Vail. They definitely put a huge fork in the road for the journey I have been on. There is no doubt about that.
I missed the first of the two shows because of it all, but was able to get in for the final one last night. It was an incredible concert, but that is a story all of its own. What I will say about it is that while I was swimming through the height of bliss for that string of hours in that stadium, thoughts of seeing The Wild Turkeys at Starbelly Jam!
Dead & Company - Boulder, Colorado - July 6, 2019
Starbelly is a festival back home in Crawford Bay on the East Shore of Kootenay Lake, BC on July 19. This is their 20th year!
Last night, the festival, and The Wild Turkeys, had both found their way into the stream of all my thoughts of what The Grateful Dead has meant to my life: Everything it has given me, and especially all the people it has brought my way!
(The vast, vast majority of people in my life are due to the trickling effect of that band. It is doubtful I would even be living out in BC without it.)
It made me smile when the Turkeys came into mind while I was gruuuvin' in that stadium. I love the Wild Turkeys! I haven't seen them too many times, but that's mostly because I don't get out much. It is a band of local guys who all share a passion for the band I love so much, The Grateful Dead. They just have fun covering their tunes, and only play shows around our area.
**I wrote something about them last year.
As far as I am concerned, The Wild Turkeys are quite synonymous with the Starbelly Jam festival as they have played there many times over the years, dating back to the first year the festival was held. That was in July of 1999...the same year I had moved to the area.
I moved to the West Kootenay on May 1, 1999. It is no secret that I live and breathe all things Grateful Dead related, so my impending collision with the Turkeys was inevitable, and the first time I saw them was only weeks after my arrival to the area. They were playing at The Royal on Baker Street in Nelson. It was the simple 'Steal Your Face' image on their poster that grabbed my attention, and drove me to going to their show, of which my mind had been to before it had even happened.
Timmy was the first one of the boys I met in the band. That was when a bunch of us were all crammed into the little band room downstairs after the Fat Cats show at The Civic on Vernon Street in town. (Renamed, "Finley's Bar & Grill" by great new owners since around 2003.) He and I were sitting at the same tiny table, and were immersed in all the fun with everyone else.
**It turns out that some of the guys are tied heavily with the Fat Cats, which naturally extended a further branch towards them as The Fatties are really good friends of mine.
The Wild Turkeys - Some fantastic West Kootenay boys!
As for Starbelly Jam itself...
Phot0 by Louis Bockner - www.facebook.com/lbockner
I have very vivid memories of Starbelly, but they are not from me being there as I have never been!
I lived with Christa in Queens Bay for the first three years I lived here: July 99 to April 2002. (Q.B. is five minutes from the ferry to the festival, but on the opposite side of Kootenay Lake.)
My tiny little 14 foot cabin on Christa's property in Queens Bay, BC
Back then, Christa had an ice cream truck, and she hit the festival circuit hard! Her traveling partner was her daughter, Hazel, was only 7 months old then. I'd always see them preparing for, or returning from, whatever festival.
It could get quite comical looking out the window of my little cabin to see Christa up and down the ramp carrying all her stuff in and out of the truck because Hazel would be at her feet the whole time. Mostly she just wanted to help her mama, but she was a baby, so it was like walking through a moving mine field for Christa.
Her arriving home from festivals was one of my favourite ways to hang out with Christa. I would come and play with Hazel, and kinda run some interference so Christa could get stuff done. I'd just be hangin' out talking to both of them...mama and baby. It was fantastic. I love those two so, so much!
Top: Christa and Hazel during 1999/2000.
Bottom: Christa, Hazel and I skating on the pond at the Balfour Golf Course - December 31, 1999
(These are the only photos I have of the two of them.)
I had heard great things about Starbelly right from the beginning. Each year I lived in Queens Bay, I house sat for Christa while the festival was on, so I did not attend. Her stories of it, upon coming home from the first one, added to the whole picture of the West Kootenay region for me.
In the years since the beginning days of the festival, other things have also kept me away as well. After I left Queens Bay, I moved deep in the bush, up the mountain, west of Nelson. All told, it was about an hour and fifteen minutes away (When factoring my gnarly driveway.), so it was no longer just a short pop down to the ferry kinda thing to get to.
Even back then, I had many friends who had Starbelly marked on their calendar as an annual event they were not missing. There was always great music, and lots of other things to do for everyone. It was equally great for the individual, as well as families and their kids. The tales coming out of that festival every year grew and grew.
Above three photos by Louis Bockner - www.facebook.com/lbockner
Aside from the housesitting for those who would be attending, my body's epic journey of pain was a big contributing factor on my missing out on Starbelly!
My body first fell apart in 1993, but in June of 2002 stuff happened that I could never express into words...the worst it has ever been. (I'm not getting into the depth of that here.) I have never been the same since.
Despite all the craziness in my body, I dug into dragging my banged up self through triathlons. I was hooked right away from the first race I did! I didn't care how much it hurt to do them, I just found them liberating and invigorating. (Just as with my body, my triathlon life is a massive story of its own for another time as well.
Fundraiser at Save-On-Foods with Tiyenna (She totally bailed me out to help me pull this off.)
I got so much from the triathlon world, that I wanted to start giving back to it somehow, so in 2007 I did my first ever fundraiser at Save-On-Foods. I wanted to raise some bucks to buy a trophy to donate to our local triathlon. (It was for the athlete who overcomes adversity to race.) The date given to me by the grocery store was the Saturday of the weekend of Starbelly Jam. I missed another one!
Even though they beat the living hell out of me, triathlon had taken over my life during my summers for some years, so festivals were not a thing on my radar. There was also another massive life turn that came when I got beat down by an animal on June 30, 2009. That set off a chain of events where I ended up losing about five and a half of the next six years of my life. It also left me with more permanent changes within my body as with my 2002 breakdown.
It just seemed to be that something was always keeping me away from the festival, but the stories from those who went never ceased to keep rolling in!
I have always been intrigued by Starbelly, and even with never having been, I have grown an attachment to it in my own way. This will be their 20th anniversary of the event, so it seems like the perfect year for me to attend for my first time.
(It was on hiatus for one summer a few years ago, and even never having been, it left me a bit sad to know it would not be happening. I was delighted to hear it would be returning when it did.)
Timmy showing me his new amplifier last month.
I went to Timmy's house a couple weeks before I left on this road trip down to Colorado (and the ensuing wandering). He's such a great guy. He was showing me his new amplifier he had just gotten, and was super psyched on. He invited me to come to their jam sessions leading up to the festival, but unfortunately I'm unable to attend because of my road trip in the States. (There could be a likelihood that I roll into the festival straight from the USA.)
This road trip I am on has seemed to add to the nature of attending Starbelly Jam to see the Wild Turkeys. I have been some gorgeous places on my trip, but back home in the West Kootenay is really a special place! It is so damned beautiful and full of so many incredible people...and it's home!
When I was riding that train of bliss in the Dead & Company show last night, and having the image float into my mind of being at Starbelly watching the Turkeys play gave me a nice feeling of my home...one of rippling warmth. It made me smile more, and painted more happiness into being there gruuuvin' hard in Boulder last night!
The Wild Turkeys at Starbelly Jam is in eleven days, and I can't wait!
Starbelly Jam Society
Box 15 Crawford Bay, BC
West Coast Grill at The Prestige Lakeside Resort
No photos as I had not intended to write about my meal here because I only went to meet with a friend who was staying there. It was so terrible all around that I couldn't let it go though.
The easy thing I will start with is my friend. He ordered french toast with bananas, but they brought him kiwis instead. He was visibly upset about this as he picked them off and was kinda cursing out each piece as he did, and saying something along the lines of how can they mess up a kiwi with a banana?! They also charged him for two teas when he only had one.
Of the two of us, he was the one who got the good service...
I ordered a very simple classic breakfast: over easy eggs, bacon, sourdough toast, hash browns.
The food didn't take long, but as soon as it was put in front of me I zeroed in on the eggs. Those things were...how do I put it? The only way they could possibly have been more overcooked is if they were charcoal black and crispy. The yolks were hard, like, can't even cut up with a fork kind of hard! That totally defeats the whole purpose of an over-easy egg, as the whole point of those is to dip your toast in the oozing yolk.
I was immediately put-off by it as I have always felt that if you're in a building called the Prestige then your food better be prestigious.
My friend used to be a cook for many years, so he knows what's up with good and bad food, and he didn't even hesitate saying that he was gonna get me new food. I told him no, that I don't send food back unless it has a hair in it, or it makes me sick immediately. (As an example...spoiled cream or the like!) Then I explained that if I send it back, that they're just gonna throw it out and I am not OK with that. I'm kid of the 80's who saw countless times a day on TV the little kids in Ethiopia with bloated stomachs and flies flying around them from desperate starvation; as cliché as it might sound at times, I am very aware of people around the world who don't have food, and would do almost anything for those shitty eggs. For me to have them thrown out is not acceptable. My friend said they need to be held accountable. I told him they will be, and quickly refreshed his memory that I write about food.
(A lesser reason I do not send food back because of quality is because I have known many, many cooks over the years, and have heard too many nightmare kitchen stories of what can happen to sent back dishes, so I don't trust round two of rejected food for a second.)
I wasn't really eating the food too much. I was more in disbelief of how terrible it was while trying to break up parts of the egg with my fork. I ate a hash brown here and there and talked with my friend about the garbage quality. That kind of took over the theme of our conversation.
When I had only eaten one slice of toast, a few hash browns, and a bit of one egg, without asking if I was done, the server just showed up and took my food away. My friend and I both said I wasn't done with it. He didn't hear us I guess, which was quite impressive as we both said it clear and loud enough for anyone standing only two feet from our table to hear. He then dropped my fork on the ground, picked it up, and put it on the plate as we both repeated ourselves that I wasn't finished. This time he heard us and started handing me my plate back with the fork that had just fallen on the floor sitting right in the food.
In my mind, I was like, "Seriously?! You're really gonna give a plate of food that has a utensil in it that you just dropped on the floor?!"
His hand was outstretched with the plate, but I wasn't gonna say anything until it got to the table to see if he would actually give it back to me. Thankfully he retracted his arm and realized what he had just done. He hesitated for a moment pondering what to do, and then apologized, and said he would get me some more food.
When he was gone back to the kitchen I looked at my friend and said, "I kinda just wanna leave." That was when my friend was looking at his bill seeing that he had just been charged for two teas instead of one.
The food didn't take long, but I wish it took a little bit longer because this time the eggs were well under cooked. They were disgusting...like eating snot. When my server asked me if there was anything else I needed I told him a fork would be great because I didn’t have any utensils.
By this time, my friend had to leave for a meeting, so I just sat there by myself eating gross snotty eggs. While I was doing that, my server had walked by and taken the cloth napkins off the table. I was thinking to myself at that point, “I’m not freakin’ done yet.” He then realized I was not done, so he put down my friend’s used napkin for me. He then stood there confused as to which one was which and picked up my friend’s and put mine back down, but to me, all I saw was his hands all over it, and I more impressed that he just kept finding ways to take bad and make it worse. It was quite impressive, especially knowing that he had been a server there for many years.
It was a huge mistake to eat that second round of eggs because now I feel terrible. There is this sludgy, slimy film from my mouth right down to my stomach, and my belly feels like I just ate some rocks.
That was quite possibly the worst meal/service combination I have ever had. Needless to say, when my friend is in town again, we won't be eating there again. It's really too bad because it is such a nice location, especially the patio on the water, but it's just not worth it. The disappointment is paramount to virtually every dining experience in that place.
When I left the restaurant, I walked straight over to the Front Desk to ask if I could borrow a pen. The lady said, "Of course." I just wanted to write down 'kiwi instead of banana' so I would remember that mistake with my friend's dish. I didn't finish writing 'instead' because I was kind of distracted talking to the woman at the desk. She asked me how I was doing. I said, "Terrible, now!" With some alarm and definite concern in her voice she asked me why. I told her that I just had a terrible meal and service at in the restaurant. It kind of stopped her in her tracks, but she did ask me if I wanted the manager's card. I told her no...that I know who he is. I thanked her for the pen and then walked off and went about my day.
The very first meal I ever had that The Prestige in 2000 I remember looking at my friend I was with then and saying, "This is not very Prestigious." After so many failed attempts at meals there, I gotta say that I am done with it. I won't waste my time or money going for a meal at The Prestige Lakeside Resort in Nelson, BC. The rooms are great, but the food is just one let down after another, and the lesson has been learned.
Winter really held on in the back end of the season this year. It sure took its time saying good bye for another year to say the least. After some hit and miss days towards the end of April, it finally seems like we are in the clear for the warmer weather to stay upon us here in the west.
(The east sure might have some disagreeing thoughts about that as they are still getting hammered by mama nature. Haha...suckers!)
It's an early start to today, and as I look out the window I can see it is a gorgeous day in the making. I have time to spare, so I decide to take my curiosity up to the rooftop patio that is advertised here at The Savoy Hotel in downtown Nelson, BC.
There are 12 rooms in their boutique hotel. I had the Junior Suite
I leave my room and make my short way to the stairs at the back end of the beautiful guest common area on the floor hotel floor. Nobody is stirring in the hotel yet, so everything is nicely quiet. It makes me feel special, like I am the king with a whole floor to myself.
One of the nice things about The Savoy Hotel is that it is completely dog friendly in all their rooms, otherwise I would not be here because my doggie comes with me everywhere I go.
When you open the door, this is what you see...
The two of us head up the stairs to the roof. I could say I simply opened the door, but really I opened my expectations, because as soon as the door swung wide it revealed a gorgeous first sight for my doggie and I. She led the way, and I followed her outside.
The patio is much bigger than I had pictured in my mind. It is very spacious, but feels intimate at the same time. A nice balance! The views all around are spectacular. They kind of just hit you right upside the head and force their way into your mind, taking over all your thoughts.
My timing was perfect too as the sun had just crested over the mountain ridge sitting behind the top end of town. Clouds were non-existent, so the crystal clear blue sky was wide open. A blank canvass for another day of possibility!
As I walked around looking at everything, and taking it all in, the early morning air was filled with songs from the birds of spring. The springtime birds sing the best songs because it just seems like so long since they have been soundtracks of the day. Their voices were quite predominant too as the town was still barely waking up, and without the real traffic sounds to start the day. It was all too peaceful. What a great setting to start the day! I was like a king on top of the world in my own little utopia.
I went to look at their hot tub in the corner that faces west. The railings are made of nice planked wood on two sides of the patio, but they had they good foresight to make the railings out of glass for the hot tub area so as to not obstruct the view...and what a view!
Knowing Nelson as well as I do, the hot tub is in the perfect location for the end of day sunset down the valley above the river. Just absolutely sensational!
Thinking about that, one might assume I am on the wrong end of the day for that experience, and although true as far as the sinking sun, and the way it will colour the sky, seeing the sun crest over the ridge on the other side in the quiet morning is equally spectacular.
There are changing areas and showers at the bottom of the stairs in the back end of the common guest area, but they also have a washroom/changing room right off to the side in the hot tub space. There is a water fountain too for those moments you might be a tad bit thirsty from soaking in the hot water. It is a total gem of little spot for sure.
(The water in the fountain is all on the same building system that has a high end water filter for all the water in the rooms, restaurants, as well as down in the Bloom Nightclub. All of it!
**As a side note, off of the guest common area there is a beautiful sauna as well. It is the traditional kind as far as being able to pour water over the hot rocks to let off steam rather than an electric sauna. I love those kinds infinitely more than the electric ones.
There is also a BBQ up here on the patio that is good to go for any guests who wish to give 'er on that and Q up a feast!
Their tables and benches are all hand milled wood from their farm down at the Salmo River Ranch about 50 minutes south of Nelson. (The ranch is also home to their Shambhala Music Festival, which is coming up on its 22nd year this coming August.)
Grains of wood on the handmade tables
The patio is only open and available to the guests of the hotel, so it really embraces that intimacy for its guests. They have pretty good hours too as it is open from 6:00am until 10:00pm. I believe they made the opening hours to benefit skiers in the winter time so they can have time for a nice little soak before they head up to Whitewater to catch first chair on the fat powder days, and pound some fluffy white pillows of winter bliss. (Shhhh...keep it a secret!)
All in all, just from the sunset hot tubbing alone, there is no place like this rooftop patio in all of Nelson. They really crushed it on this for sure! I'm glad I came up here to start my day. Such a beautiful way to ease into the world for another go at it!
Back down to the common area, and on with my day...
198 Baker Street
Nelson, BC, Canada
**I was looking through Aszjeca's Halloween series of photos, and just started writing this in mid-thought...all in one shot, unedited and raw, as is the way I will often write.
It's not even just about what she does with her skills, there is just something about the way Aszjeca captures her creations in how she poses in her photos. They're not just straight photos of the make up and then done, she knows how to bring them to life even more by adding other layers of depth.
(This is the photo that put my mind into writing mode)
I haven't read the original thing I wrote about Aszjeca last year since I did it.
I kinda just write and move on. I do believe I said something along the lines of me not being a make-up kinda guy. I love natural beauty and don't think it should be covered up. Aszjeca is the exception that makes me a total hypocrite though, because what she does is unreal!!
After seeing her Halloween series this year I kinda got sad that it was over. It was then that I realized that Aszjeca is my favourite artist in this area. There is a very deep and rich community of artists around here, and I don't want to disrespect any of them because this place has some damned talent...my goodness does it ever have talent, but she is on a different level.
(This photo deserves to be full size...that shit's crazy!)
Aszjeca's skills are off the charts fantastic, and so is her imagination for what she comes up with to create. She never ceases to blow my mind that way. The thing that takes it further though is that extra layered depth she gets through knowing how to capture each moment in a photo.
It may not seem like it to many, but I am a very artsy person, and in anything I do I pour everything I have into it, and look for as many ways to add layers of depth as I can. I stretch my imagination beyond what I know to do. I venture into the unknown through my art, quite often by mistake, but I love the pursuit of uniqueness as it is often the thing that drives me.
It's in that realm of thought where my mind goes when I see the way Aszjeca captures her creations...whether that be through wearing a wig, or onsie lookin' thing, the way she has her hair, or just through the way she poses. She brings in several aspects of art all at once, and it is just so damned mind blowing.
The thing that is even more excellent is the way that once she is done, she cleans it off and that's that! I liken it similarly to Buddhist Monks doing those absolutely stunning sand mandalas. Their creations are so gorgeous, and leave one completely in awe. Then once they are done, the monks just sweep up the mandala...and that's that! Countless hours just gone. I know those mandalas are all about the journey, and not the destination; but the odd time I will think about that likeness between Aszjeca's art and that of a Buddhist Monk's sand mandala...a stunning piece of work that gets washed away. It all seems crazy, but it is really just wrapped in brilliance.
Within the notion of her art, the simplest thing I can say is that I am a guy who straight-up doesn't like make up, but I am always looking forward to what she is gonna do next. Aszjeca is just that fuckin' good!
Yesterday (November 2nd) I sent her this message:
"I'm assuming your Halloween series is over now? You gonna do a Christmas one?"
She told me she is for sure, so stay tuned 'cause Christmas is coming fast!
Here is Aszjeca's info again!
Her page on Younique Beauty Products. (She has been killing it with this stuff!):
Aura Spa & Salon at The Hume Hotel in Nelson, BC, Canada:
Bonus photo she posted beginning of November...
"Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground ✨" - Aszjeca
From September 18, 2018
When I was on my way to the Okanagan for the last of my three triathlon trips this summer I hit a deer just before I got into Grand Forks. I was absolutely horrified by the accident as it was a little spotted fawn. I'll save that story for another time.
I stopped in town to assess the damage before I kept rolling down the road, especially since it was somewhere between 3:00 -4:00am.
There was only some minor damage to my front driver side light and signal light that I was gonna need to get sorted, but nothing serious, so I kept on my way. When I got home from the weekend I got in touch with Joe & Al to set up an appointment to get some lovin’ for my van.
When I pulled up to their shop at Steel Toe Joe’s in Krestova I was greeted by Rosie in the driveway as soon as I got outta my van. She saw my dogs, and had to immediately 'cess the situation with who these fuckers were at her place. (I had Paul's doggie, Cecelia, while he was away at Red Rocks in Colorado for a Greensky Bluegrass show).
Rosie the shop dawg!
Rosie is pretty excellent. As Fennario is my work's hotel doggie, Rosie is the shop doggie at Steel Toe Joe's! She even has her own seat that she seems to have taken complete ownership of.
My appointment was at 2:00pm, and I guess I rolled in at 1:58pm. I knew this because they were half shocked about it.
Porter: "Who in the Kootenays is ever on time?!"
(Jon) Porter works for Joe in the shop. He is a super good guy. He just grinds away at what he's doin', and then every-so-often you'll hear him start gigglin' at our meandering conversations.
As casual as I am, and as much as I don’t like to hurry for pretty much anything, I do try to be on time for appointments as I find it prudent to be considerate of those who may be in front or behind me.
Joe was out test driving some guy's pick-up truck when it was my turn, so Porter hopped right in my van, drove it into the shop, and got right at it. Pronto service!
It wasn't too hard for him to figure out what headlight was messed up from the little deer because as soon as he popped the hood and lifted it up, the light fell right out.
He started laughing, “Found it!”
I got Porter to put on my snow tires while I was there too.
Joe came and went, working on this and that, and searching through the computer for parts while Al did her desk-y work. Al is the duty manager...also Joe's wife.
Joe and Al are amazing. Just really, really great people! I've known them for 15 years now, and they have become some of my closest friends.
First photo is Al trying to act angry that I took her photo. Second one is when I called bullshit on her being angry.
Over the years I have watched Joe's whole progression towards someday having his own shop at his home. While doing his apprenticeship, he had to go away to Cranbrook for school, and then to Kelowna over a period of four years. It was a bummer having to be away from his wife and kids, but it was all a part of the grander vision and he was doing what he had to do.
Joe worked, and worked, and just ground it out...even towing truck for three or four years. He would be in the shop from 8am - 5pm, and then be on call for the rest of the 24 hours...often being called out in the middle of the night. He did all this while having a family with Al and their three young children!
A family affair! Ollie (their youngest) helping mom and dad.
Joe is the epitome of a hard worker. On top of that, he is as solid as they come. When I think of what a good human is, he is one of the first people who comes to mind. In an industry that is widely known to have scammers and just a lotta shittiness, Joe is the one who stands out above the rest. There is no one more honest than him, and there is nothing he can't fix.
When I say there is nothing he can’t fix, I’m talking far beyond just vehicles. I once had a problem with my bike that no local bike shops could fix, nor could bike shops in Calgary and the Okanagan. It was a loose rivet that was the issue. I was sent to the riveting specialist in Nelson and even he couldn't do it, so I took it to Joe. He was working at Western Auto Wreckers at the time. I dropped off my bike, came back in a couple days, and it was good to go! Back racing triathlons again! (When I dropped it off, Corey and Perry came out and slobbered over the awesomeness of it.)
(Clint, Corey and the rest of the boys at Western Auto had always been real good to me. It always felt like they would give me a tad bit of special treatment there. With the exhaustion so deep in my body, there had even been times when I would pass out on their desk in the office, and they didn't mind. They were always into and entertained by what I was doing. They even used to sponsor me when I raced hard years ago.)
In a way I was a bit sad to see Joe leave Western because I liked the guys there, but when he told me he was finally goin' for it with his shop I was super psyched for him. Nothing in the past mattered at that point, because I was aware of the whole journey and what it truly meant to him to finally arrive at the foot of his dream.
Although the road to that whole dream of the home-based shop was not always an easy one, it came together real fast when Joe and Al found the amazing new home they bought in June of 2015. It is in Krestova on several acres of land, and had a shop on it.
For the first couple years the shop was designated as their social hangout. It was great for that! They had Thanksgiving in it in 2015 and called it, "Shopsgiving." They also had Christmas there one year and called it, "Shopsmas." I mean, how good is that?!
Joe's dream of his home shop persisted though, but it always seemed like a bit of a distant thing even though they had most of the pieces in place. Then, just like that, one day he said, "Fuck it!" and went for it.
Talking with him about it, it was all just the whole concept of having the courage to just dive into the unknown and go.
He had to do some reno's to his shop to get it full business ready, but nothing too crazy. He ripped out a small couple walls, raised a section in the roof so he could put in a lift, and put in a bigger sliding door on the front. Just like that, he was ready to go!
After the school year was done at the end of this past June, Al finished up with her old job that she had been doing for many years, and joined Joe in the shop as the Duty Manager.
In all the 15 years I have known them, and all the fun and shenanigans we have had together, Joe said my favourite thing I have ever heard him say at an annual party they had on the second weekend of August.
Deep into the night he and I were talking a bit about the shop, and I asked him how it was with Al there...how she liked it, how they flowed together in a working environment, etc.
Joe said, "It's great! I love my wife, and she loves me! We get along so well, and all day long we get to see each other. I love it!"
I don't really need to say how amazing that is, do I?! It was definitely one of those moments where you just get happy for other people's happiness.
I've seen Joe and Al in the serious grind of some of the earlier years just trying to make it all work, and now, without exception, every time I am here I just get happy for them because they are both truly living their dream. There is not a time that I go to their place that that thought does not enter my mind…regardless of why I am there.
The environment they have created in their Steel Toe Joe's Automotive shop is warm, inviting, friendly, yet very professional. They are both the kindest people ever, and absolutely freakin' hilarious too!
I know that sometimes women can feel intimidated at automotive shops. I’ve seen that kind of thing through advertisements and such of the rare auto shop that is owned and operated by women…where part of their advertising pitch is about their shop being a place where women can feel safe and comfortable.
I’m not gonna get into what I think of all that here, but what I will say is that no woman will ever feel that at Steel Toe Joe’s. Ever! It doesn’t matter who you are, when you are at their shop they will make you feel at ease. As I eluded to above, Joe is one of the first people who comes to mind when I think of what a good human is, and Al…shiiit…I don’t think there is a more caring person on this planet, not that I have ever come across anyway!
It just feels like home, like you’re hanging out with good friends while Joe and Porter take care of your vehicles and Al takes care of you personally. I’m not just saying that because I am their friend, but because I am very observant towards who they are. (I’m only their friend because of the good people they are.)
There is no way I could possibly recommend anyone higher if you are in the area from Nelson to Castlegar and the lower Slocan Valley. If you don't live in this area and you have car problems, it totally sucks to be you! I kinda feel sorry for you!
Steel Toe Joe's staff...some of the best people you will ever meet!
Left to right: Joe & Al Shaw, Jon Porter
Steel Toe Joe's Automotive is the shit! The best of the best! Honest, reliable, and the ass-whuppin'est car fixin'est mutha-fuckas there are!
You leave there happy, entertained, and with your car all patched up.
You can find them at:
3804 Pine Road
On Facebook at: www.facebook.com/Steel-Toe-Joes-Automotive-Repair-587555518068314/
Google Maps Link:
After the lawnmower shot whatever that was into my foot, and the effects of what it meant for my foot started sinking in, I got pretty upset right away. The way it hurt, and the way the rippling pain affected the movements of my foot, I saw all the racing I wanted to do disappear. Just like that it was gone!
To be able to walk I have to compensate my stride, and in so leaving a deep limp. That shoots my mind straight to that old familiar place of how detrimental compensating for injury can throw my whole body out of balance structurally. It is a chain reaction doesn’t seem so obvious.
Where the object shot through my flip flop and pierced my foot.
I can hardly stand on the inside of my foot, so I am focusing more of my weight onto the outside of my foot, which aren’t isn’t where the main structural bones are.
(I learned that when I cracked the 5th metatarsal in my right foot during the Vancouver marathon in 2008…I was landing my stride on the outside of my foot and rolling in, when the line of structural integrity is along the inside from your heel to big toe.)
Aside from that, walking on the outside with such a pronounced limp, it throws the proper alignment in stride out in my knee, and also my hip. To compensate for the improper weight distribution I’m then leaning a bit to the side as well as shifting my weight more rigorously as I move.
These movements, and change in patterns, can then put torque on the spine and shift the organs...even just slightly. This in turn fills the body with inefficiencies that have a building up effect as time goes on.
I know there is nothing efficient about my shitty body, but adding more mess to the pile is obviously not what I want to do. The problem is, I like to walk, and the only way I can right now is with this shift in structure, movement and weight, which introduces this whole chain reaction.
I won’t walk this way for too long, just the initial days while I let my body really digest the injury, then I will suck up the pain some more and walk properly, even if it hurts more because it is worth it in the long run.
That’s the initial physical aspect of things I am staring down right now, but my bigger problem is the mental one. The pain isn’t the problem. I can always handle that. The problem is what the injury limits. In this case it is riding my bike.
The worst movement for my foot is to go up on my tip toes, and putting pressure when in that position. This, of course, has detrimental effects on riding a bike as it’s the balls of the feet that are on the pedals driving all the force into the bike. That’s something I simply cannot do right now. I might be able to do it very gingerly on my winter trainer in the easiest gear, but out on the road there isn’t a chance.
Of course my work got in the way and took my last few days of my challenge away from me, but I was already looking to adjust what the fitness end of my challenge meant. This was because I had decided to get racing in again, and dive right in, in a very intense way for myself.
I was going to start shifting away from as much strength work, and move towards roadwork on my bike. I was also gonna cut back on the treading water (from 30+ minutes down to 15 minutes) and just use the treading water as a warm up to put more emphasis into swimming.
This weekend I was going to start doing sets of wind-sprints on my bike up the long hill in front of the Castlegar Airport…park at the bottom, charge up to the top, turn around and coast back down. Repeat!
I am not sure how that would affect my hernia, but I really want to start building some better strength in my biking legs out on the road now that I have the 30-40 minutes per day on my winter trainer under me.
Right now, I don’t even know what is what though. I am not sure if I can race at all. That depends on how my foot heals, and how fast. Obviously, in a triathlon, having a functioning foot is quite important for cycling and running. Being on the bike with my foot living in the worst position is not the ideal way to set up my run.
My feet already go numb and hurt real badly when I ride my bike. It is why I can’t clip into pedals as I have to move my feet around and shake them off while I ride. I am not a stranger to having my feet be so sore and numb when I get off my bike that I can barely stand on them when I start my run. I have collapsed getting off my bike many times in the past. It’s never that big of a deal too me, but it isn’t the aewsomest thing either. This is all when my feet are in top condition though, so what does that mean with my foot all chewed up?!
All of this is what has been playing in my mind, and it hasn’t been going over well. As soon as I committed to my mind that I was gonna race, I drew up the toughest schedule I could for the late season. It involves eight days of racing in just over three weeks. This is the schedule here:
August 17 - 19: Penticton
August 26: Kamloops
September 2: Summerland
September 3: Vancouver
September 8: Lake Stevens, WA (Outside of Seattle)
September 9: Grand Prairie, AB
As it is will cost a bunch of money, I was gonna do some fundraising and seek out some sponsorship. I have started drawing up a budget of costs to see everything I needed to pull off the season. I also wanted to incorporate some fundraising for Paige Purcell to give to the Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.
I ran into Gil at the grocery store, and through us talking I told him I was gonna get back into some heavy racing again. He didn't even hesitate to say he wants to be involved, so just like that, I picked up some sponsorship from Red Light Ramen and El Taco! (Gil and Justine are freakin' amazing! I love them!)
I messaged Andrea (Paige’s mama) about it. I told her I wanted to start a GoFundMe for to raise the money for my racing and then donate everything above my costs to Paige. Andrea thought it was a great idea.
My entry back into racing had now just taken on a whole new dimension…one with real purpose:
It felt good to want to do that. I love that family so much. They’re just so damned inspiring, and watching Paige grow, getting further away from her tumor with each passing day has been nothing short of incredible!
This is where the real battle in my mind has come into play with this stupid foot injury. Sadly, I have become used to having everything I love taken away from me, which is exactly what I am feeling now.
Rolling off the momentum from my 31 day challenge I just got it in my head to race again. Once it was in there I could see nothing else. All my thoughts were wrapped around it. Then, in one quick moment, it could be gone, and it feels like it stripped away the meaning from my mind. I have been through that far, far too many times in life to not know that I can pull myself through it. The real problem now is Paige. If I lose the racing I lose the chance to do a bit of fundraising for her, even if it’s only just a little bit.
I don’t even really know how I feel about it, but it sickens me in a sense. All I can see is that I am letting this little girl down, and I hate that feeling. I hate it! I hate it! I HATE IT!
Now I’m left here with this messed up foot trying to steal my racing away from me and all I can see is myself disappointing this little girl.
I think of what she has been through and I feel like a disgrace, and I disgust myself. I can’t give up on her though, so I am trying to figure my way through this.
Epsom Salt is the first thing with plastic I have bought in a month. The only other plastic were my two prescriptions for my foot...my feet seemed to have betrayed me for this no-plastic challenge!
Here I am sitting inside with my foot soaking in icy Epsom salt water when it is smokin’ hot outside. I’m purposely limping to take pressure off the wound, which isn’t great for my structure, but I don’t know what else to do. I can’t get Paige outta my head, and if I have to drag my body through a deeper sense of hell to get this racing done somehow, I guess that’s what I’m gonna have to do.
I can live with pain, but I just can’t live with the kind of pain failing this little girl will put on me. That shit doesn’t go away!
I’m gonna have to do some figuring to pull it off, and only time will tell what that means, but maybe this is just the way I am meant to roll. I was supposed to die the day I was born, so I came into this world as a fighter. Maybe I just do better against impossible odds. The worse things are, the harder I dig in to find what I am really made of!
Paige, I’m gonna step up and drag myself through pain and hell for you! I refuse to let you down!
I went to the Kootenay Country Co-Op today. I hadn't been there for awhile. I thought it was time to go grab some food there as I have been to the Wednesday Market, Evergreen Natural Foods, and Safeway in Nelson.
The Co-Op has recently moved locations to their long anticipated new building. It is much, much bigger than it was before, offering much more selection of goods. I was psyched to see what I could get there as I have been on a pretty limited grocery list for my diet.
I was in there early in the morning, which was nice as it wasn't too busy. Long ago, I used to have a self imposed rule to never go there on a Friday afternoon as it would be so busy I would just bail on what I needed and try again after the weekend.
I was quite surprised by the limited amount of produce available to me. They had plastic tags and stickers on so much of their stuff too. Although this no new plastic thing is much easier than I anticipated going in, I kinda can't wait for it to be done so I can eat some damned bananas and avocados again.
Right out front of their door was a display of peaches that I wanted to get. They were in the Pulp Fibre cartons. I was psyched. I grabbed a pack and had a fatty smile on my face. Then I remembered that my time restricted eating schedule was for when I was at work.
I immediately started picturing myself eating peaches at work and knew that sticky fruit hands were not gonna be at all conducive to my work environment, so sadly I put them down. I might go back on Friday to get some for the weekend, but can't say for sure as I might just go somewhere else instead
I poked around the produce and got some stuff that would be good for me and that I could bring to work. Before I left I needed to grab some more rice as I was out. I also decided on a bit of elbow pasta too. I got the ultra-hippy kind too: Quinoa-Rice pasta elbows!
I brought the worng lids to the containers I had with me, and couldn't get new ones, but I did have a couple old bags that I have used for a long time. **I only bring a few new bags into my house per year as it is...just reuse the crap outta them.
Once I had the rice and pasta, I was set enough for myself, and headed towards the checkout. On my way there I passed by the salad bar cafe stands. They didn't have much out for serving yet because it was so early, but they did have something that caught my eye: Enchiladas!
Those fuckers looked good. Before committing to getting some in my mind I had to check on the packaging. They had the hard papery recyclable take away packaging, so I was goin' for it. They weren't too big, but I only grabbed a couple.
Now, armed with those, I was ready to make my break to the checkout, pay for my food, and get the hell outta town so I could crawl into bed for some sleep.
I unloaded everything to get rung through, then walked around to the other side of the till to start packaging up. Once the girl was done with my stuff she leveled me with the bad news:
In my head all I was thinking was, "Are you fuckin' kidding me?! SEVENTY TWO FREAKIN' FIFTY FUCKIN' FOUR! Who in their right gawd damned mind thinks this is OK?!"
I was looking at the food I had. Here is the list:
-A little bit of Carrots
-A small amount of rice and elbow pasta
-2 Heads of Broccoli
-1 Bunch of Celery
-2 Bulbs of Garlic
-3 Small Red Onions
-2 Small Enchiladas from their Salad Bar thing
No matter how I looked at it, I couldn't for the life of me figure out how this small amount of food could cost this much gawd damned money! These people are outta their damned minds if they think this is acceptable. There's no need to wonder why people can't afford to shop and eat at this place. I was just glad I had some cash left over from a Gift Card thing I bought as a fundraiser one of my friend's kids was doing.
I'm all for supporting local business and stuff, but this makes ridiculous look awesome!
Many years ago, when I was on a small disability of about $450/month after my rent portion I was able to shop exclusively at the Co-Op. Now I bust my ass workin' like a mutha-fucka and I can't afford to shop here exclusively. The new Co-Op is outta freakin' control with this kinda shit goin' on, that's for damned sure! I'll keep goin' there for the odd thing I can't get elsewhere in town, but for staples, this place can go to hell! They sure talk a lot about being community oriented, but this says the exact opposite. My goodness!
I saw these recent 'after' photos from one of Aszjeca's live videos she did. This is absolutely amazing! So, here I am spontaneously putting them up here as a little follow-up to the post I wrote about her at Christmas time titled, "The Many Faces of Aszjeca"
Aszjeca has been absolutely crushing it with everything she has been doing. I saw a part of a video she posted not too long ago kind of summing up everything she has going on. It was crazy how much happy and excitement she packed into every square inch of that video. I love seeing people thriving in whatever speaks to their heart, and the pure joy it brings them in the process. It is really something to observe, and that was everything that spoke out from that video.
There's no doubt about it: Aszjeca is bad-freakin'-ass!
Here's all the different ways you can find your way into her world.
Aszjeca's page on Younique Beauty Products. (She has been killing it with this stuff!):
Aura Spa & Salon at The Hume Hotel in Nelson, BC, Canada:
I didn’t have any apprehensions, but when I started this out going into my first day, I definitely had some wonder with how things would go. Any preconceptions I had with my anticipation of how things would unfold did not take long at all to get dispelled.
I started off great on my first day. I crushed through most things I had to do. My food was simple as I had not yet really done any shopping. As I am an idiot, rather than getting some proper food to start me off in a position of strength, armed with the knowledge that I was taking this challenge on, and what it would mean for my food intake (both amount and kinds of food available to me), I got myself a pizza on my last day before I began. One last blast before I get at ‘er!
My food was very simple on my first day, leftover roast chicken and rice. I ate that through the night when I was at work (My equivalent of daytime…kinda!)
The fitness aspect of things was equally great and quite lacking. The push-ups drained my arms really badly and really chewed up my shoulders in a nasty way. I was expecting the shoulder part, but the amount they drained my arms was beyond what I expected, or was prepared for. It took me a lot to get through all of them.
I also gave myself a set back by trying to add some planks into the fitness end of my challenge. I only did one for 22 seconds, but it took such a toll on my hernia that I had to stop. Not only could I not do anymore of them, but it set back the rest of me for what I still had to do. Bottom line: Planks are out!
The planks put me in a bit of a hole, but I would soon find myself in a bigger hole in the next couple days to come.
The amount of time involved to do everything was more than I expected too. Aside from all the fitness chores I have to knock off, I also have to prepare food to take to work with me. The first night didn’t take long as it was so simple, but the rest do take time and planning. By the end of the challenge I will have it all dialed to a smooth running machine, but this is the beginning and not the end, plus I started off in a hole right away.
Part of the thing that put me in a bit of a hole was the time constraint of the day my first day fell upon. It was on my worst working day of the week. I have a schedule adjustment that costs me time at home as I get off several hours later than usual. I also had to go to the market after work to get some food. I wrote about that already for day one.
My meal for my second day was much nicer. It was rice, cucumber, shredded beets, Liquid Braggs, some Spike seasoning, and green onions. I also had a chunk of that bread from the French Bakery that I got at the market, as well as some strawberries.
Rice, Cucumber, Green Onions, Shredded Beets, Spike Seasoning, French Bakery Bread.
I was freakin’ starving though. I definitely expected that on the first day, and it delivered for sure! When I woke up before work and was preparing my food to eat at work, I shoved a few of the strawberries in my face. Daaaaaamnnn were they exactly what I needed. I felt my insides crying with happiness. My tastebuds were dancing to the songs the strawberries were playing to them. I was in heaven.
I cut off a big chunk of bread…about 1/3 of the loaf (They are small loaves…don’t judge me!) and ate it while I was driving to work. I know rice and bread were two starches, but I didn’t care one freakin’ bit.
I had gotten home from work just after 12:00 noon. I was freakin’ exhausted! I crawled into bed and slept off and on for about 2½ hours. I couldn’t let myself sleep any more than that as I had to be awake at 9:30pm to get ready for work, meaning I had to go to sleep around 6:00pm to try to get maybe 2½ to 3 hours of sleep before work. (I will usually wake up 2 – 5 times in a three hour stretch.) Sleeping so late though, waking up just before 3:00pm I mean, set me up to probably not be able to sleep again before I had to go to work. That’s not ideal, but that has become normal to me.
I woke up with a brutal head ache, and felt like I had sunstroke. I had no energy and was light headed all day. I could barely take on my fitness tasks at all. I was bitter about that for sure. It was eating at my mind and pissing me off! Luckily, I didn’t know what I had ahead of me or I would have been really upset.
That next night I was at work from 11pm Thursday until 5pm Friday afternoon. I did take a 30min break to just sit there deep into the night as I knew I would be working into overtime because of circumstance. The morning was dragging on, and work was nuts. Sometime after 12:00 noon, Daniella and I went to her place for about an hour to let the doggies play as I was starting to talk to myself about taking a break for Fennario. (I had brought her to my van just before 10am thinking I would be done for the day around noon.)
Daniella & Willow; Fennario
Needless to say, it was a fuckin’ grind of a long-ass day. It beat the hell outta me. As soon as I came home I crawled into bed and passed right the fuck out. I woke up several times though as per usual. I’d get up to drink some water, and then get back into bed. I did get outta bed for a couple hours in the middle of the night, but I didn’t do anything. I just sat there like a useless piece of shit and stared at some of the World Cup. I went back to bed, and aside from the usual waking up every so often and grabbing a drink to make some use of the time, I didn’t get outta bed for good until sometime between 9:00-10:00am.
I lost my entire Friday...Day 3! I was freakin’ pissed off! The only way I could look at it though was through two things. One, it was only the beginning of the challenge, so I had time to make up the lost ground on the fitness end of the challenge. Two, it was the weekend, so it was a good place to start to make up that ground and get some proper footing on finding a routine.
When I got outta bed I sat around for a little bit, in no hurry to wake up quickly. I was riding the blob in my mind and the lethargic-ness in my body. I got bored of that quickly, or perhaps it was just my mind only thinking about all the ground I had to make up, so I got up and immediately did some push-ups to begin my fitness end of Day 4.
I had some reservations about those that was bordering on anxiety. I just knew how much they drained me, screwed up my shoulders, and set me back a little. I did make an adjustment though with my technique to see if that helped. I went to a wider stance position with my arms and it worked beautifully. I started making up ground right away. I need to complete 42 push-ups each day. It was a massive struggle on Day one, but this was kind of my 2nd day and I did 54 push-ups to begin.
After I did my push-ups, I went and did 6 sets of hills in my back yard. I wanted to do more, but I needed to bathe and hit the road as I was going to Castlegar to see a matinee. After my work week, I really felt the need to unplug like that. When I was there, I had my popcorn and a soda. (I don’t go to the movies to be healthy, I go to unplug my brain and turn on my robotic arm while I stuff popcorn in my face.) The movie popcorn/soda is eating loophole I gave myself. I did however, not get a lid or straw for my drink, so I stayed plastic free. (Except for the waxy shit they line those cups with) I didn’t think they would let me take my drink like that, but they did, so I was happy about that.
On my way home from the movie, as it isn't too far from where I live, I went to Evergreen Natural Foods in Crescent Valley to load up on some more food. I like going there 'cause I get to see a couple of really great people: Tracey and Kelly. Lucky for me, both of them were working, so I got to say hello to each of them. Yaaaay for those kind girls!
Even being a natural health food store of organics, etc, I still found the same problem of stickers on most things like avocados and bananas, so there was only a limited selection to pick from. I still got some good food though.
When I came back home I got right back at it and made up ground in every category. It took me into the night, but I did pretty well.
I was up through the night until about 4:00am. I had to deal with some unexpected work stuff between 1:00 and 2:30am. Even at home on my weekend my work still gets me.
I woke up for good not too long after 9:00am. I got at Day 5. Despite how tired my body is, I did 52 push-ups, and did 12 sets of calf raises instead of 4. I also did 6 sets of hills instead of 4, so I am making up ground again.
I stopped to make some food, but I don’t really feel like eating it. The struggle from the first couple days is behind me already and I’m nicely on my way with the time restricted eating of one meal a day, with some nibbles while I am making it. Today it is elbow pasta with broccoli, zucchini, cucumber, green onion, and a couple spoonfuls of salsa.
I kinda feel bummed that I don’t wanna eat my food. The nice thing though, is that I already feel lighter on my insides. I don’t mean as far as body weight, but in the way of my digestive system, and the feeling of not being full, or any kinda thing like heart-burn or whatever. It’s nice to feel that progress.
When I see how the first handful of days has played out, and reflecting upon them, not bringing new plastic into my life and time restricted eating has not been an issue all! The real issue is the time involved for all the fitness tasks, as well as food prep combined with my working schedule. I will need to reconfigure my time management. This is all to be expected, but just not quite the way I might have thought initially. I guess that’s the whole point of a challenge. I won’t let myself fail. Pain lasts for a little, failure lasts a lifetime!
Stuff Writin' About Kinda Guy
I am a simple guy who likes to dream of the impossible and go after it. I have found fun in writing about my journey as well as other things that inspire me too.